Scallions, otherwise known as green onions or spring onions, are as close as you can get to wild onions, both in nutritional density and appearance. This makes them the most nutritious of all the variety of onions. While they may look like young onions, scallions are actually a distinct sub-species, with more than 140 times more phytonutrients than white onions.
Wild onions were first domesticated thousands of years ago in the mountains of Pakistan. Those spicy scallion-looking onions were treasured by hunter-gathers because of their many medicinal applications. Throughout North America, tribes used wild onions to treat infections, boost appetites, increase energy, and reduce fevers.
Because scallions closely resemble ancestral onions, they still contain many of the healing properties of their wild kin. In fact, a study done in 2002 proved that scallions have tremendous medicinal potential when it comes to cancer prevention. The study demonstrated that men who ate a third of an ounce or more of scallions each day had a 50 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
The green tubular leaves of scallions of are Low-FODMAP, and contain the majority of allium’s beneficial phytonutrients. In most dishes scallion greens can be used as substitute for onions. If you’re sensitive to onions you may find you tolerate these greens better. A little trick I used when I was first re-introducing scallions to my diet was to chop and salt the greens. Wait 10 minutes and then rinse the greens and before cooking. Adding salt causes the onion greens to “sweat” some of their potency making them gentler on sensitive stomachs.
Of all of the vegetable common to Supermarkets, scallions are one of the most nutrient dense, so make sure to pick up a bunch on your next shop. Once home, the best way to store scallions is in a glass of fresh water on the counter. Change the water every couple of days and they’ll continue to grow. Alternatively, you can plant the bulbs in a bit of soil. However I recommend eating them within a few days and then getting more as scallions have the wild nutrition that healing bodies love!
For a great way to include more scallions in your healing diet check out my recipe for Roasted Whole Scallions (AIP, Paleo, Low Carb/Ketegenic)
- “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson
- “An Analysis of the Food Plants and Drug Plants of Native North America” by D. E. Moerman
- “Allium Vegetables and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Population-Based Study” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 94 (21): 1648-51